Thanksgiving dinner for six was my task last week. It turned into an adventure with our cat, Sneakers, because, well, nothing is easy with a cat. Sneaks is an old girl who lives in the dining room with her litter box beneath the table. Of course, I couldn’t have that for the special meal, so my first move was to exit her from the room, which disrupted her space and her peace. She immediately retreated to safety under the bed in the master bedroom. ‘Nuff said. Meal was great. A good time was had by all. Everyone left. Dishes were done, and peace was restored to the house.
Then, as so many adventures begin, I had this thought. The longer the cat stayed under the bed, the greater the risk to the well being of the bedroom carpet, so I decided to “shoo” her from the room. Broom in hand, I reached under the big bed, and she “fled the scene,” as they say in cop dramas. Of course, I didn’t see WHERE she went, but I didn’t think anything of it.
Until much later, when I discovered she wasn’t anywhere around the dining room table. Oh-oh. So I tore the house apart, and then I did it again, and again. After a couple of hours of looking in every nook & cranny, I realized the back door had been open. Oh crap, she went outside, I thought. That began the first of many neighborhood searches, and it was after that when I notified my wife in Virginia and wound up in the inevitable doghouse. Sneakers, where the hell are you? I opened the garage door, so she could get in, if she happened to have wandered away. I opened every closet and every room, in case she had escaped my view. I prayed she would come back, and I didn’t sleep a wink.
My Friday morning was indeed black as the cat was still AWOL. I made another couple of passes throughout the house with a flashlight. Nothing. I went door-to-door asking if anyone had seen an old gray cat with white paws. A cold front had come through, and it was really chilly, so I just knew the poor thing had died. By afternoon, I had given up and turned the page on the life of the cat. It was my fault, and I truly felt terrible, but what could I do? My stepson girlfriend came, and we looked one more time together but to no avail. She was consoling, but Sneakers was still gone.
Nightfall came, and I retreated to the bedroom to watch TV.
At 8:00pm, I went to the kitchen to get a snack and noticed what I felt was movement beneath the dining room table. Sneakers? Lo and behold, there was the danged cat, back at home on one of the chairs. The Hallelujah Chorus erupted in the soundtrack of my soul! Sneakers! Thank God you’re back!
This taught me many things, but mostly to never underestimate the ability of a cat to find a hiding place. My catastrophizing had put her in the grave, but she was merely scolding me for messing with her dwelling place.
You know, I never really have liked cats.